How to Resolve a Dispute With Your Landlord Over Repairs

Landlord Protection How to Resolve a Dispute With Your Landlord Over Repairs

The Legal Way to Resolve a Dispute With Your Landlord Over Repairs

Are you stressed by a  they haven't addressed? One of the benefits of being a renter is not being responsible for repairs in your home, as long as you didn't cause them beyond the scope of normal wear and tear. And a benefit of being a landlord is the income they receive from tenants like you.

What do you do when your landlord isn't holding up their end of the bargain, and they've either refused to fix appliances, fixtures, or other broken or damaged features of your home? You have rights as a renter, and DoNotPay will help you resolve contentious issues with your landlord so you can enjoy the rental as you deserve.

How to Resolve Landlord Issues the DIY Way

Nobody wants to sue their landlord, but if you've gotten to the point at which you've searched for answers and found this page, you're likely considering it. But first, here are some steps to help you make your landlord tend to repairs so you don't end up taking them to small claims court.

Understand Your Rights as a Tenant

You aren't at the mercy of your landlord, and when you know your rights as a tenant, you will be more confident when dealing with the property owner or management company. Here's what you can do to learn where you stand within the bounds of the law and your rental agreement:

  1. Read your lease: What are the terms of your lease? Make note of the sections that hold your landlord liable for repairs, as well as the consequences should they fail to make those repairs in a reasonable amount of time.
  1. Get help from your local tenant advocacy organization: Most municipalities and states have a non-profit organization dedicated to helping tenants understand local landlord laws, and some can connect you with inexpensive or pro-bono lawyers to fight for you. They can even help you file a complaint against your landlord if you can't get them to comply with your requests for repairs. If you can't find a tenancy organization, DoNotPay can help you.

Landlord-tenant laws describe the rights and responsibilities both landlords and tenants must follow.

Landlord’s ResponsibilitiesTenant’s Responsibilities
  • Maintaining properties in habitable condition — that is, a safe, livable home including a roof that doesn't leak, adequate heating and plumbing, and necessary locks
  • Following the Lease Agreement
  • Making repairs in a reasonable amount of time
  • Properly handling security deposits
  • Notifying the tenant if and when they must enter the property
  • Treating tenants equally, in compliance with federal, state, and local Fair Housing regulations
  • Paying rent and any utilities on time
  • Following the Lease Agreement
  • Notifying the landlord of needed repairs, especially ones that may cause property damage
  • Abiding by the law
  • Giving your landlord proper notice (xx days minimum in State) if you plan to move out

Document Everything

Keeping a record of your communications and actions will help you make a case against a negligent landlord.

  1. Take photographs. It might be too late for this now, but before you move into a new rental, it's a good idea to take detailed photographs of the interior and exterior to show its condition to compare to any damage that occurred during your tenancy. You can still document the damage, of course, but also photograph the apartment as you keep it—tidy and clean—to demonstrate that you take pride in your home, and take care of your things.
  2. Keep a journal of all your landlord interactions. Include the following:
  • Did they agree to the repairs?
  • Have they come out to inspect the repairs?
  • Have they sent in a contractor or repair person to give an estimate?
  1. Date and time you first noticed the issue
  2. Dates, times, and methods of alerting the landlord to the problem
  3. Dates, times, and methods by which they responded

If the landlord is a property management company, be sure to note the names of the agents with whom you've interacted.

Send a Demand Letter to Your Landlord

If texts, emails, and phone calls haven't been enough to motivate your landlord to make repairs to your unit, it's time to act like a lawyer and send a formal demand letter, which you should mail to the landlord with delivery confirmation.

Here is a sample letter you can use:


Dear (Landlord or agent's name)

My name is (name) and I live at (address, unit). I am the tenant on the lease, signed on (date). On the following dates, I have contacted you to alert you of a damaged (item) that needs repairs. This damage is preventing me from full enjoyment of this property, for which I pay (amount) on time each month.

I urge you to make these repairs within 30 days, and honor the agreement in our lease, which entitles me to (possible compensation, according to lease or local laws):

  • Withhold rent payment until repairs are complete
  • Demand that my rent be refunded for the days the repairs remain unresolved
  • Compensation for hotel stays for the dates during which the rental is uninhabitable

I assume I am not alone in wishing to avoid pursuing this matter in small claims court, but if this matter isn't resolved by (date) I will be forced to do so as is my right.

Please contact me in writing at your earliest convenience with your proposal and plan to remediate this problem.


(Your signature)

(Your name).

How to Hold Your Landlord Accountable the Easy Way With DoNotPay

If you're not confident you can write a demand letter, or you would feel better with a lawyer on your side but you don't want to pay expensive legal fees, DoNotPay can help you resolve a  in just a few easy steps::

  1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay. 
  2. Select which issue applies to you. 
  3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter. 
  4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord soon after they receive your demand letter.

Other Ways DoNotPay Can Advocate for Your Tenant Rights

Why Use DoNotPay to Solve the Dispute With Your Landlord Over Repairs

Because dealing with landlords is tricky, and you shouldn't have to do it alone, DoNotPay will help you resolve your landlord dispute fast, easy, and without the headache.

Count on us to be your "virtual lawyer" and get started today! Before you know it, you'll be living in a safe, secure, and functional rental, or you'll have the leverage to break your lease and find the home you deserve.

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